Artwork by: Fagiani
Stumped on how to write your LinkedIn headline for a career change? Discover how to optimize your headline to highlight transferable skills, showcase achievements, and navigate your transition with confidence.
If you’re one of the many professionals who have made the decision to change careers, congratulations on having the courage to pursue your dreams! Whether you're making a significant career switch or simply pivoting into a related field, one of the crucial elements of your job search is your LinkedIn profile.
As you embark on optimizing your LinkedIn profile for a career change, a crucial step in aligning yourself with your targeted career field is crafting a strong headline. As the first thing people see, your headline is a place to convey your professional identity and position yourself for new opportunities.
But, with only 220 characters, how do you tell your career story, reflect your new aspirations, and attract recruiters in that limited amount of space?
Dive in as we cover:
The importance of a strong LinkedIn headline
How to craft a compelling LinkedIn headline during a career change
LinkedIn headline examples for career change
Your headline is one of the most visible components of your profile. Anytime you engage on LinkedIn, members see a small box with your photo, full name, and (you guessed it) your headline. These three pieces of information follow you around everywhere you go; whether you publish a post, make a comment, or show up in someone’s search result, your headline is what your network sees first.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as a book telling your professional story, with your name serving as the title, your photo as the cover, and your headline as the synopsis on the back cover. Much like the back of a book, your headline is where you captivate the interest of potential readers—in your case, recruiters on LinkedIn.
After your name and picture, your LinkedIn headline serves as the introduction to your professional identity, making it a pivotal element of your online presence. It is the first thing potential employers, recruiters, and network connections see when they visit your profile. Hence, your headline has the power to encapsulate your career narrative, skills, and aspirations.
Essentially, it defines your brand identity, shaping the first impression for recruiters and hiring managers. Therefore, it is crucial that your headline effectively conveys your brand identity in alignment with your new career direction.
A compelling LinkedIn headline not only enhances your professional identity but also increases your visibility in searches, making it an invaluable tool for networking, job searching, and building a strong personal brand in the digital professional landscape.
Studies show that 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates. That said, incorporating relevant keywords is the only way to show up in recruiter search results and improve your profile views.
So, how do you create a headline that piques a recruiters’ interest when changing careers?
The key to writing a strong career change headline is to put yourself in a recruiter’s shoes. When a recruiter sees your job application in their folder, one of the first things they do is turn to your LinkedIn. Their eyes will dart to your headline. Do you want it to show where you’re coming from, or where you’re going?
The answer: where you’re going.
One thought running through the minds of all recruiters is, “How is this person relevant to the position I’m looking to fill?” You want there to be no mistake in your relevance. Therefore, write your headline for the job you’re hoping to land or the industry you’re working towards entering to avoid being disregarded early in the process.
Let’s dive deeper into some of the key components of an effective headline that will maximize your visibility among recruiters.
While the 220-character limit for your LinkedIn headline offers creative freedom, it's critical to tailor your headline to align with the jobs you're targeting to attract opportunities in your desired field. What follows are some key components to incorporate into your LinkedIn headline for a career change:
If you’re not sure what key phrases to use in your headline, peruse job postings in your target industry to identify relevant keywords. Look for hard skills that are necessary to succeed in the role as well as qualifications, training, or certifications that are listed in the requirements.
Not only do the right keywords in your headline raise your visibility in recruiter searches, but they convey your enthusiasm for the career change and demonstrate your familiarity with the language and requirements of the new field.
Skills you possess that are relevant to the targeted role. For instance, if you’re moving from sales to project management, a transferable skill might be negotiation. As a salesperson, you negotiate with prospects and in project management you negotiate with vendors on pricing, or project teams on deadlines. Make a list of your three strongest transferable skills and incorporate them into your headline.
Showcase any relevant achievements or certifications in your headline. This provides credibility and gives a quick snapshot of your accomplishments. If you've completed a course or earned a certification related to your new career, include it in your headline. This can be particularly impactful in establishing your credibility in the eyes of potential employers.
If space allows, consider adding a tagline or personal branding statement to your headline. This can provide additional context and differentiate you from other professionals. Be sure to use a mix of industry-specific terms and easily understandable language to ensure that your headline resonates with a broad audience.
Now that you understand what pieces are important to include in your headline, let’s review some examples:
Here's an example LinkedIn headline for a teacher moving into a corporate training and development role:
Passionate educator transitioning to corporate training & development | Transforming learning into professional growth | Expertise in curriculum design and learning management systems
This example focuses on transferable skills: training & development, curriculum design, and learning management systems. Notice how we also provided a brand statement of value: transforming learning into professional growth.
Here’s an example of an accountant pursuing a career in data analytics:
Aspiring Data Analyst / Data Enthusiast / Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) | Well versed in financial analysis & reporting | Driving informed business decisions
Notice how we don’t specifically call out the current role in accounting. This headline fully embodies the new job target.
Here’s an example of an attorney moving into the environmental policy industry:
Corporate Lawyer in Transition | Navigating a New Path in Environmental Policy Advocacy | Legal Expert with a Green Vision of a Sustainable Earth for the Next Generation
Looking to make a career change and need support? Our career exploration service to gain a comprehensive understanding of your desired job's role, salary prospects, and how it contributes to your overall career progression.
Your LinkedIn headline is the first thing others see, treat it like a captivating synopsis on the back cover of a book all about your career change.
Your LinkedIn headline should focus on where you want to go and be written from a recruiter’s perspective.
Incorporate keywords, transferable skills, achievements, and certifications to raise your visibility and appeal to recruiters and hiring managers.
Melanie L. Denny
Melanie L. Denny is an award-winning resume expert, personal branding consultant, and certified LinkedIn strategist who loves content writing. Her insights have been quoted and featured in Forbes, Huffpost, Yahoo News, Fast Company, NBC News and countless podcasts sharing self-marketing strategies, tips, and tricks. She loves traveling with her family and is passionate about helping others see themselves as more.